Fraud whistleblower admits to his own financial scam
QUEBEC CITY - The ex-securities auditor who blew the whistle on one of Canada's biggest financial scandals admitted Thursday to running a fraud scam of his own.
Eric Asselin, who helped to take down the Norbourg investment firm, was sentenced to three years in prison for filing a $1-million bogus bankruptcy.
The former investigator with Quebec's financial watchdog pleaded guilty in a Quebec City courtroom to one count of fraud for a 2007 bankruptcy filing.
Asselin had left the watchdog to become a Norbourg manager in the early 2000s and soon grew suspicious of company CEO Vincent Lacroix.
He tipped off financial authorities to irregularities at the Montreal firm, leading to RCMP raids that resulted in Lacroix's arrest.
Some 9,200 Norbourg investors had been bilked of $115 million as company executives used clients' money to throw lavish parties and cavort with strippers instead of investing the funds as promised.
Lacroix was sent to prison in October 2009 after pleading guilty to nearly 200 criminal charges. He has since been released to a halfway house.
Several other Norbourg executives have also been convicted in the massive financial fraud.
The RCMP granted immunity to Asselin for his co-operation but authorities later discovered he had masterminded a separate scam.
He used fake names and false financial statements to hide money from creditors, and also made false statements during civil bankruptcy hearings.
A bankruptcy can be considered fraudulent when a person accumulates debts that he knows he can't repay.